Minimum Wage For Unskilled Staff Gets Nod
States to bring minimum wages in sync with the national floor
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ratified a proposal to make the national floor level minimum wage mandatory for all unskilled workers in the country at a meeting of the union cabinet on late Thursday evening. The decision coincided with the conclusion of a two-day national strike called by all central trade unions to protest the governments economic and labour policies, and is likely to be formally announced by labour and employment minister Mallikarjun Kharge in Parliament.Over 93% of Indias 400-million plus workforce is employed in the informal sector, with most of them making a living as daily wage earners.The Centre has pegged the daily floor level minimum wage at.115, but sixteen states including Kerala, AP, Maharashtra and Gujarat have set lower floor level minimum wages.Following the cabinets nod, the labour ministry will introduce amendments to the Minimum Wages Act of 1948 to give a statutory status for its floor wage level. Though the proposed amendments are not part of the sixteen bills listed by the parliamentary affairs ministry for introduction in the Budget session, a senior government official said they are likely to be tabled soon. States will have to bring their minimum wages in sync with the national floor set by the Centre, once the law is amended and notified. The amendment includes provisions for greater enforcement of minimum wage payments to workers, with violations likely to face strict penal action. The labour ministry has also proposed a mandatory revision of the floor level wageevery five years.The Cabinet also approved the merger of sick public sector engineering firm Bharat Heavy Plate & Vessels Ltd.(BHPV) Vishakhapatnam with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited or BHEL.Incorporated in 1966, Vishakhapatnam-based BHPV had turned sick in 2005 and was taken over by BHEL as a 100% subsidiary in 2008. The merger is expected to help the two firms derive better synergies. The cabinet also okayed the out-of-turn allotment of a middle income group flat by the Delhi Development Authority to the family of the deceased victim of the December 16 gang rape in the capital.
Economic Times, New Delhi, 22-02-2013
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